With nearly 300 grizzly bears, Glacier National Park is home to the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. Add in about 600 black bears and over 2 million human visitors per year, and the stage is set for a challenging management situation. Glacier has risen to the challenge and has one of the most successful bear management programs in the world.
Visitor injury rates and property damage rates are exceedingly low and declining. Property damage claims are nearly non-existent. Furthermore, levels of human-caused bear mortality are also low. On average, less than one bear per year are removed due to management concerns. This sterling record of success does not come without cost.
Examples of annual expenditures are: non-lethal aversive conditioning rounds, pamphlets, signs, decals, darts, repairs to culvert traps, new or refurbished radio collars, oxygen, intravenous fluids, volunteer and seasonal staff, and helicopter service. Occasionally, contract work is required for focused aversive conditioning efforts. Conservancy funding has now established a bear management fund to help defray these ongoing costs but needs additional funds to be fully seeded in case of emergencies.